Mary Poppins and Motherhood: Five Tips for Creating Magical Moments With Your Kids


When I think about the perfect role model mother figure from the movies, I immediately think of Mary Poppins. She swoops in and gets the kids to clean, feed the birds, and love to laugh without any apparent effort. She lets difficult situations, like chimney smoke, take her to new heights. And she brings a distanced family together, helping them focus on what matters most in their lives—each other, all while flying a kite.

No one can be Mary Poppins, but everyone—mothers, moms at heart, or any of us who have the ability to influence others—has the opportunity to create magical, Mary Poppins-like moments and be a positive role model.

What Is a Mary Poppins Moment?

For me, a Mary Poppins moment is a little lesson you learn that makes a big impact.

My most memorable Mary Poppins moments were taught to me by my own mother. Most specifically, she taught me to appreciate people from all walks of life and to discover our similarities while at the same time finding joy in our differences.

When I was 2, my mom learned about women who were in the process of placing their babies for adoption and needed a place to stay before their babies were born. Even though she was only 23-years old with a toddler and a 1-year old and wasn't much older than the girls who needed help, my mom took in these women and mothered them at, what had to be, one of the most difficult times in their lives.

That was just the beginning. When I look back at the 18 years I spent in my parents' house, they hosted four foreign exchange students, invited two teenagers with unstable home lives to live with us, and offered countless people to stay in our "hotel" while they traveled, needed shelter, etc. My mom not only cleaned the house, prepared the meals, and mothered or played hostess to all of these people, but also was a very involved "soccer mom" to six children of her own.

Five Tips for Being a Mary Poppins-Like Mom

Here are five things I learned from my mother about being a Mary Poppins-like mom:

  1. Love to Laugh. Never let something as seemingly important as housework get in the way of playing and laughing with your kids. Have fun, be present with them, and help them feel like the only person in the world when you're with them.
  2. Take a Spoonful of Sugar to Help the Medicine Go Down. Don't let life's challenges beat you. Enjoy the journey, even if you are going through some dark and scary places. Show your kids it's OK to get covered in a little soot now and then, but help them focus on the positive so they can climb to new heights.
  3. Feed the Birds. Help those that can't help themselves. Reach out. Lift them up. And make a meaningful difference in the world. Involve your kids in charity and help them experience how amazing giving can be.
  4. Go fly a kite. Set your sites high and push through to clarity. Help your kids have vision and see their potential, giving them opportunities and letting them learn from their own experiences.
  5. Say Supercalifragiliciousexpialidocious! Keep in mind that everything doesn't have to make sense. Pulling lamps out of carpet bags and uttering silly phrases may feel just as out there as going with your gut. But, trusting your mother's intuition and letting it be your guide will give you confidence and help you make the right decisions for yourself and your family.

What Mary Poppins-like moments do you create with your kids?

This post was inspired by P&G's Thank You Mom contest—a giveaway that encourages adult children to give their mom a heartfelt "Thank You" and a chance to win a $1000 for a special trip to reconnect with mom. I wrote this while participating in the campaign. It was originally posted on
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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